Why I’m Glad Call of Duty is Returning to its Basics
The first thing that the official trailer for CoD WW2 reminded me of, was Battlefield 1 (a good thing). CoD WW2 presented it’s fan base with a more authentic and realistic war experience, something that I, like many others, have been longing for since Black Ops 1. After Bo1, Call of Duty started looking towards the future, a more science fiction-y set and by doing this, becoming more and more unrealistic in terms of gameplay and mechanics, such as “Exo Suits” allowing advanced movement, such as dashing and wall running. Along with new mechanics, along came new locales such as space.
Whilst this new direction is bold, ambitious and relatively new, it isn’t appealing to its fan base — not only reading reviews but even on the trailers. Even the Vice Chairman, Thomas Tippl, said at a earnings call that “The space setting just did not resonate”. This is proven by a trailer on YouTube, that has nearly 40 million views (as of 28th August 2017) and of those, it has above 3.5 million dislikes and only 500,000 likes. This means it has a dislike rate of 81.1% according to this calculator.
By contrast, CoD WW2 has had a complete turn around, with over 91.6% of likes, using the same Scratch project. Clearly, a nostalgic trip back to World War 2, with a classic “boots on the ground” approach is what is needed to reengage with players who are sick and tired of an unrealistic sci-fi epic Call of Duty.
WW2’s story will primarily be told through in game gameplay, and not through lengthy cutscenes according to the games Senior Creative Director Bret Robbins. The story places more emphasis on the characters you are with, and he said that “the climax of our story lives or dies on how invested you are in the characters”. I’m excited to see this, and I hope that even though more emphasis is on characters, there will be one or two missions that are tense, stealthy and nail bitingly good, like that iconic mission on CoD 5, Vendetta.
Multiplayer is a massive part of the Call of Duty franchise, and some players don’t even touch the campaign mode of Call of Duty. If you have played say, Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer, Black Ops 3’s multiplayer, it’s basically the same; same movement systems due to the Exo-Suits, similar weapons, similar maps. List goes on. One thing that I liked in Infinite Warfare’s multiplayer is a new feature called “Mission Teams”. You select a team and you are given 3 challenges to complete in matches, that are usually to do with specific weapons, objectives and more. Completing these earns XP for your team, and the more you complete, the more difficult they get. Whilst they are similar to contracts in Black Ops 1, it’s a nice little objective in game to complete.
Supply drops are still present and have been since Advanced Warfare, and they are unlocked in different ways, including time played. They are random crates with different loot in, such as gear, reinforcements, and weapon variants. They are basically a direct rip of Counterstrike GO’s weapon case system.
This is what ruined Call of Duty for me. All of these changes over complicated the game, whilst they add more functionality, it ever increases the skill gap (just because someone has a legendary weapon vs someone without) and the Create-a-Class system has gone from being easy to make a change in a pre-game lobby to something that takes planning.
I am very glad to see that WW2 has taken CoD back to it’s roots (despite the replacement of the Create a Class system), with less gimmicky features, like Supply Drops, and Missions Teams. It’s gone back to simpler times, with it’s typical RPG mechanics such as weapon progression, character progression and more.
From the beta, exclusive to those who pre-ordered, the 3 maps on offer are diverse and fun. A massive change was the removal, well replacement of the Create a Class system, now known as Divisions. Create a Class is synonymous with Call of Duty but I honestly feel that it’s a good change — it allows players to specialise in a specific area, such as the “Infantry” division, allowing players to have a bayonet charge, and then with “Airbourne”, giving players a silencer. This is something more akin to Battlefield than anything else, and hopefully it balances out gameplay, making multiplayer less brutal on newbies. Obviously there are still teething issues, but that’s the whole point of a beta (apart from the incentive to pre-order for early gameplay), to iron out these issues.